Of all Trump’s objectionable actions and qualities, these two topics – Russian involvement in the election and Trump’s taxes – are wisely chosen: they both address questions of law and legitimacy, and they are both related to whether Trump is Putin’s useful fool. (Looking at his tax returns would show Trump’s income and how significantly that income rests on Russian loans.)
That’s not all there is to Trump, to be sure: he has other objectionable qualities.
Yet for it all, there’s never been a president so servile, so fawning, before a foreign leader as Trump is toward Putin. (No one thought, for example, that Nixon was weak on the dictators then in Moscow and Beijing. Quite the opposite: Only Nixon could go to China, for example, precisely because he was considered firm, not fawning, to that foreign power.)
There’s much to go, and many setbacks yet ahead, but Trump shows every sign of being Putin’s tiny dancing monkey.
“A very nice letter from Vladimir Putin; his thoughts are so correct,” Trump said in a statement. “I hope both sides are able to live up to these thoughts, and we do not have to travel an alternate path.”
The alternative path to Putin’s would, in fact, be desirable, as it would encourage democracy and productivity at home, and peaceful international relations abroad.
(Small but worth noting: for all the nativism Trump’s kicked up, he has a poor grasp of his native language. In his obsequious reply to Putin, Trump misuses alternate for alternative, and is maladroit even in his praise, using the awkward, ‘his thoughts are so correct,’ something a struggling newcomer to English might use. He has no valid defense against this criticism: Trump’s insisted that his own bar should be high, as he’s assured us that “I know words, I have the best words…“)
As it is, both words and actions show Trump to be unfit for, and hostile to, the fundamental characteristics of a free society.
Garry Kasparov‘s a great hero of mine (and of many millions across the world), not simply for his unquestioned understanding of chess, but even more for his commitment to human freedom and democratic institutions. In the audio interview below, Kasparov speaks about Putin’s manipulation of our recent election.
A man wants to read a woman’s diary, so he breaks into her house, steals it, and publishes it to all the world. When confronted, he denies he’s done anything wrong, and instead revels in his act, on the theory that it’s more important for others to know the woman’s private thoughts.
It should come as no surprise that a dictator, having eviscerated private life in his own country, would see no wrong in transgressing the distinction between public and private in a foreign, still-free society. There is no freedom if there is no private space, such as that of a private political party, beyond others’ reach.
“Democrats are losing on every front and looking for people to blame everywhere,” Putin said in answer to a Russian TV host, one of 1,400 journalists accredited to the marathon session. “They need to learn to lose with dignity.”
“Trump understood the mood of the people and kept going until the end, when nobody believed in him,” Putin said, adding with a grin. “Except for you and me.”
Putin has repeatedly denied involvement despite the accusations coming from the White House, and the Kremlin has repeatedly questioned the evidence for the U.S. claims. On Friday he borrowed from Trump’s dismissal of the accusations, remarking “maybe it was someone lying on the couch who did it.”
“And it’s not important who did the hacking, it’s important that the information that was revealed was true, that is important,” Putin said, referring to the emails that showed that party leaders had favored Hillary Clinton.
The firm CrowdStrike linked malware used in the DNC intrusion to malware used to hack and track an Android phone app used by the Ukrainian army in its battle against pro-Russia separatists in eastern Ukraine from late 2014 through 2016.
While CrowdStrike, which was hired by the DNC to investigate the intrusions and whose findings are described in a new report, had always suspected that one of the two hacker groups that struck the DNC was the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence agency, it had only medium confidence.
Now, said CrowdStrike co-founder Dmitri Alperovitch, “we have high confidence” it was a unit of the GRU. CrowdStrike had dubbed that unit “Fancy Bear.”
The FBI, which has been investigating Russia’s hacks of political, government, academic and other organizations for several years, privately has concluded the same. But the bureau has not publicly drawn the link to the GRU.
If Alexei Navalany is willing to fight against Putin, in a society where Putin’s authoritarianism is much advanced, then we in America who are the fortunate & blessed heirs of a democratic tradition (where authoritarianism is yet only nascent) have no justification for reluctance to join our own fight.
We’ll find those we can support, from among our hundreds of millions, with much good work we can do in support.
The Kremlin says that Russian President Vladimir Putin and President-elect Donald Trump have agreed in a phone call to work to improve U.S.-Russian relations.
The Kremlin says that Putin expressed readiness to establish a “partner-like” dialogue with Trump’s administration….
The Kremlin says that Putin and Trump agreed that U.S.-Russian ties are “unsatisfactory” and spoke for joint efforts to normalize them and engage in a “constructive cooperation on a broad range of issues.”
Hopeful wall-builders must be disappointed that Trump’s call wasn’t to threaten Mexican officials (really, to make a mere show of it while America pays for whatever barrier he devises against free markets in capital, goods, and labor).
No, it was a telephone call to Putin, bomber of innocents in Syria, tormentor of Ukranians, and friend of anti-Anerican hackers, that Trump so obligingly took.
One can guess – without guessing – that “partner-like” discussions involve terms to lift sanctions against Russia for her violence in Ukraine.
It says all one need hear that even the United Nations Human Rights Council, with several dictatorial members, found Russian conduct so egregious that they rejected her continued membership.
No matter, from Putin’s perspective: why should Russia worry about the U.N. when she was Trump by her side?